Defying Western stigma and school-age angst over wearing braces, some Asian teens are reportedly buying fake braces as a status symbol.
This orthodontia oddity has flourished in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, according to outlets.
Kids are forking over $100 for the black-market fashion braces to fool observers into thinking they can afford the authentic -- and expensive -- mouthworks, AFP reports.
Mickey Mouse and Hello Kitty are among the popular designs, but whimsical themes aside, the braces can also be dangerous. As Vice.com notes, the faux braces have led to the deaths of two teens in Thailand, causing the government to crack down on vendors. Selling fashion braces now carries a punishment of up to six months in prison and a $1,300 fine, according to the report.
In 2009 -- yes, this trend has some bite -- CBS reported on the Thai government's concern that parts could come loose and choke wearers, and that some of the braces contained lead.
A few outlets poked fun at the newly updated fad. MSN cracked that perhaps stick-on acne would be next. Jezebel wrote, "I'm sure brace-decoration-technology (?) has only improved since I was young, making them ripe for customization and bedazzling and conspicuous consumption."
Humor site the Chive ran a pictorial, remarking that among all the supposedly crazy crazes, this one was, well, surprising.
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If the <a href="https://twitter.com/teen/status/275792405171666945">rumors are true</a>, Niall is now the proud owner of a set of shiny, braces-free teeth. All the better to enjoy his Nandos with...
Former child star Dakota Fanning has been in the spotlight since she had baby teeth, and she's been on <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nERT00Ew9vU">dozens of talk shows </a>discussing the state of her teeth (for a while, she didn't have any front teeth!) By <a href="http://www.celebitchy.com/11380/dakota_fanning_grows_up_overnight/">age 14</a>, Dakota had a beautiful, braces-free smile.
After having braces in her earlier teens (<a href="http://www.thefrisky.com/photos/10-celebrity-brace-faces/celeb-brace-face-emma-watson-jpg/">photo here</a>), Emma now flashes a flawless smile.
12-year-old "Hunger Games" star Willow Shields sports braces -- and they look adorable on her!
In 2010, the "Wish U Were Here" singer <a href="http://www.disneydreaming.com/2010/12/04/cody-simpson-talks-to-radio-disney-about-getting-his-braces-off/">opened up to Radio Disney </a>about how good it felt to get his braces off.
Miley Cyrus's little sis, 13-year-old Noah, is loud and proud about her braces. Last year, she uploaded a <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmW35h98KJU">video of herself singing "Braceface" </a>to YouTube -- it's since received over 64,000 views.
OK fine, so Katy Perry may not have had real braces, but she did rock some intense mouthwear (neon braces and a neckgear) in her music video for <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlyXNRrsk4A">"Last Friday Night (TGIF)."</a>